I ﬁnally got around to hunting down the second and third issues of this three-part story, and re-read #9 since it had been a while. It’s interesting how these issues manage to be very much like the Optic Nerves of the past while feeling far more developed at the same time. The artwork has relaxed from the rigid precision of earlier issues and is all inked, none of the screentone shading that tended to darken up the pages.
The story itself continues following our depressed protagonist (probably the part of this storyline that most connects it to earlier ones) after his girlfriend’s departure to New York. Eventually he ends up following her there, and perhaps the best part is when they go to a bar that is called O’Daly’s but looks exactly like O’Connors.
Looking back on older Optic Nerves that were infused with Tomine’s experiences living in Berkeley/the Bay Area, it will be interesting to if and how he will use New York as a setting in future works.
If you’ve missed this series entirely, this fall the three parts will be compiled into a book entitled Shortcomings.